Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Elusive Apsena

Unbeknownst to many of you, I've actually been keeping a small Tenebrionid species for the past month or so, and I figured I'd make a blog post on them, as they are poorly studied little things, and among the prettiest of the micro desert Tenebs in the USA. 🙂

So we recently moved to a new housing development, close to other areas I've lived here in ID, and towards the end of winter, I started seeing these dead Tenebs popping up in the house. Now I've lived in southwest Idaho for years, and have extensively explored the surrounding area looking for new Tenebrionid species, and I'd like to think I know most of the Teneb fauna in the area. However, I had never seen this particular species before, and decided to collect some of the bodies and try to ID them myself.
Turns out, they are an Apsena species, which isn't a genus I've encountered before! I don't know if their larvae or pupae have been formally described before, (something tells me they haven't), and I've never seen anyone breeding this genus before, so I figured I'd keep a few if I could find any live ones, and photograph some of their developmental stages, for science. 😛

I ended up finding a few live adults, and placed them in a small, well ventilated enclosure with about a CM of coconut fiber. I'm keeping less than one third of the enclosure moist, and the rest bone dry. They have eggcrate pieces for hides, and have both cotton springtails and some stowaway Dermestid beetles (Anthrenus sp.), for cleaner crews. (Oddly enough, this is the first time Dermestid beetles have done even remotely well for me, I have no idea why these ones are thriving in the Apsena enclosure, hopefully they won't pose a threat to them, or get into my roach enclosures...).

I'm feeding them mostly chick feed, might offer some veggies or leaf litter later on, but they seem to be loving the chick feed right now. Room temperature seems to suit them fine.

With minimal effort, they've been thriving and have laid dozens of eggs, which are about 1-2 mm long, white, and easy to see through the bottom of the enclosure. The eggs seem to take about 1-2 weeks to hatch, and the resulting larvae are tiny! Pretty sure I'm the first person to ever breed this genus, and I'm almost certain I'm the only one who's photographed the larvae. 😁

Anyways, here are some pictures of them! First, one of the pretty adults:

Now the larvae, first picture is of an L1, the others are of later instars:

Overall they've proven very easy to breed so far, and the larvae are growing quickly! Fingers crossed they pupate easily, and I can snag some pics of the pupae and teneral adults!

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, hope everyone enjoyed, thanks for reading, I'll see you all next time! 😉


  1. Once you've seen that they are easy to pupate/eclose……….gimme! :p Stunning, stunning darklings. :)

    1. Well after documenting their life stages I was planning on releasing them anyway, so I guess some might just have to be "released" to Illinois... ;p

    2. Maybe some'll blow into the "Windy City"....;p

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, glad to be back, if only on a trial basis. :)